Customer Experience News & Trends

7 qualities properly motivated salespeople have

“Manage your emotions or they will manage you,” John Wooden, one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time, warned his players each year. It’s a message every salesperson should recite before every sales call.

Successful salespeople score high in managing their emotions. They don’t overreact to positive or negative selling situations because they’re aware of triggers that cause such responses from customers and make a conscious choice about how they want to show up each day.

Emotion management is important in all selling efforts. Yet emotional intelligence skills are rarely taught to salespeople. Most training is focused on hard sales skills such as prospecting, negotiating or closing tactics. There is little attention placed on soft skills such as empathy, rapport and self-confidence. Even less time is spent on teaching salespeople how to manage their emotions and the emotions of prospects and customers they’re trying to sell.

What’s inside?

Success in sales has more to do with what is inside the salesperson rather than any external factors. Studies reveal that the real key to productivity is not external motivation but motivation that is generated from within the salesperson.

Here are the traits that are the foundation for the internal motivation to succeed in sales:

  1. Empathy. This is the first ingredient of the sales equation. Because selling involves concerns, questions and objections, salespeople need to be empathic and flexible enough to adjust their presentation and approach. A salesperson’s confidence that he/she can understand the needs of individual customers and sell them appropriate solutions is essential to internal motivation. Empathy is the starting place for connecting. Salespeople who are empathic will make more real and lasting connections with their customers.
  2. Ego-drive. This is a quality that makes salespeople want and need to make a sale in a very personal way. They enhance their egos through persuading others, frequently in face-to-face, one-on-one situations. Persuading is like breathing for the ego-driven salesperson. However, strong ego-drive alone does not ensure success in selling, unless it is properly balanced with empathy and other key factors. Salespeople whose ego-drive is in overdrive may rush to a close without listening to objections or not relating the product or service to the prospect’s needs.
  3. Resilience. This is needed to beat rejection. Any person who is attempting to persuade another individual is more likely to be rejected than accepted. Salespeople with resilience view rejection as something to get over, to get through, to get on the other side of. They learn from negative experiences and turn them into defining moments. They react to failure in the same way a hungry person does to missing a meal: They are much hungrier for the next opportunity. Resilience is not about deflecting challenges. Resilience is about absorbing those challenges and rebounding even stronger than before.
  4. Trust. This is the heart of any meaningful relationship between salespeople and customers. It is the start or stop of any relationship. Trust occurs on several levels. It has to do with knowing that you have your customers’ best interests at heart and that you will come through for them, time and time again. It’s the trust you establish with customers that allows them to open up and consider opportunities they might not have even considered for themselves.
  5. Decision-making. This can save a sale from being lost. Even with empathy, ego-drive, resilience and trust, a poor decision maker will never become a great salesperson. The act of buying is not a single decision but a series of decisions. Each step in the decision-making process is made in a logical order. Top salespeople understand how they deal with a prospect at one stage determines when they move to the next stage.
  6. Assertiveness. This allows a salesperson to ask for the order in an effective way. A time comes in every sales situation when a prospect has to be told to “Please sign here.” It’s at this moment of truth when the salesperson’s assertiveness or lack thereof can be the difference between success and failure. Assertiveness is not aggressiveness or pushiness. It’s the ability that enables a salesperson to get prospects to willingly do what they might not do spontaneously on their own.
  7. Insight. This is the ability to read between the lines and process information rather than accept it all at face value. Often a prospect will tell a salesperson what is needed at one level, but insight will allow the salesperson to read between the lines and get to the next level of real need. Insight allows the salesperson to act as a consultant, helping customers to discern their real needs and meet those needs through the product or service being sold.

Adapted from: “Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success,” by Colleen Stanley, president of SalesLeadership, Inc., a leading sales consulting firm that specializes in emotional intelligence sales training.

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